Dorothy wakes up in post-tornado Kansas, only to be whisked back to Oz to try to save her old friends the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man and Glinda from a devious new villain, the Jester.... See full summary »
This 150-episode series of shorts chronicles Dorothy's long stay in the land of Oz. The Munchkins are portrayed as tiny globs; the Scarecrow is a fool named Socrates; the Tin Woodman is a ... See full summary »
Rather than adapt a later or create a new Oz story, this production has Dorothy still in posession of the shoes, and she clings to an apple tree during a tornado which takes her back to Oz.... See full summary »
Dorothy wakes up in post-tornado Kansas, only to be whisked back to Oz to try to save her old friends the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man and Glinda from a devious new villain, the Jester. Wiser the owl, Marshal Mallow, China Princess and Tugg the tugboat join Dorothy on her latest magical journey through the colorful landscape of Oz to restore order and happiness to Emerald City. Written by
Legends of Oz honors the original in look and feel
I saw Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return in an advance screening last weekend. I took two of my sons with me, neither under the age of 16. Older teenagers are natural-born skeptics when it comes to kids' movies so I was sure they'd pan it.
Much to my (pleasant) surprise, they enjoyed the film as much as I did. From the opening credits-- which re-imagined the tornado sequence in the 1939 Wizard of Oz that we have all seen dozens of times--to the final frame, we were captivated by the characters, the songs and the storyline. In addition, the pacing of the movie was great, though there were a few moments where it felt a little "draggy." But just a few: my guess is the target audience (ages 6 to 12) won't even notice.
This independent film has some surprisingly big stars as voices of the characters, most notably Lea Michele of Glee fame. I had never heard of her a few months ago, but then I checked her out and found out she has 3.4 million fans on Facebook! She seems to be big among the teen set. Anyway, she plays a winsome yet spunky Dorothy, a 2014 version of the character popularized by oh-whats-her-name in 1939.
The Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man are voiced by Dan Ayckroyd, Jim Belushi and Kelsey Grammar respectively. They have kept the inner core of these lovable characters while updating them to suit modern tastes.
The freshest part of the film are the new characters introduced as Dorothy returns to Oz and tries to make her way to the Emerald City, where an evil Jester (terrificly played by Martin Short) is wreaking havoc. In an echo of the original film, Dorothy first encounters and then wins over these characters (Wiser the Owl; Marshall Mallow, the Dainty China Princess and Tugg, played by Patrick Stewart) as she makes her way down the yellow brick road.
Some of the songs are forgettable but there some that really connect. "Even Then," a love ballad written by Bryan Adams and Tift Merrit, is sure to cause a lump in your throat. And "When the World" will probably be the tune that stays with you as you leave the theater. I wouldn't be surprised if the soundtrack is more popular than the movie itself.
All in all this is a film that the whole family should find charming and fun. And at 88 minutes it is the perfect length to tell the new Oz story while keeping your attention. Ignore those critics complaining about the quality of the animation. Its a kids' movie, for crying out loud!
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